Nehemiah heard the news from home. His heart broke. However God opened the door for Nehemiah. He led his people to rebuild their walls physically and spiritually. Finally we read that the people settled, the walls were dedicated, and that Nehemiah continued to lead and to pray.
The People Settled
The leaders of the people lived in Jerusalem. They required that one tenth of the people live in the city. They cast lots to decide but some willingly offered. The people blessed those who volunteered. The other nine tenths lived in other cities. They recorded, the people and family groups that lived in Jerusalem, then listed those in the villages and finally a list recording the names of the Priests and Levites.
Dedicating the Walls
They sought out the Levites from everywhere. The dedication of the walls demanded celebration. Of necessity it would be a grand event. The Israelites would fill it with gladness, thanksgivings, and singing. Cymbals would clash. Stringed instruments, harps, trumpets and all the musical instruments of David, the man of God would sound. In addition Nehemiah established two large thanksgiving choirs. One choir came around the city one way and the other came the opposite way, both arriving at the house of God. As a result, the joy expressed from that great celebration echoed for miles around.
Nehemiah Continues to Lead
The people continued to avail themselves to the Book of Moses. Thereby they became more aware of things they needed to heed and did so.
Nehemiah returned to the King for a while. Later, he returned to Jerusalem. On doing so, he discovered a few things that grieved him. For one, remember Tobiah, one of those he had to fight with in the building of the wall? Well, Tobiah made friends with one of the priests who oversaw the storerooms. This priest then prepared a room for him in the house of God. The room was for storing things for worship. As well, the room stored things for the Levites, singers, and gatekeepers. The people held offerings there for the priests amongst other things. When Nehemiah discovered this “evil” he grieved bitterly. He then tossed out all of Tobiah’s things, cleaned it and returned the items.
He discovered another evil. The leaders withheld a portion that they were to give to the Levites and the singers. As a result they had gone back to the fields.
He further observed slippage in their obedience to the law in other areas as well. Nehemiah knew the high cost of their disobedience so he held the people accountable.
Nehemiah Continues to Pray
In his prayers Nehemiah would often pray “Remember me O my God”. Therefore it seems fitting for him to end this book by writing “Remember me O my God, for good”. Nehemiah loved and worshiped God. As a result, he used his strengths and abilities for God’s purposes. He also put up with a lot of abuse. He did however, reinstate the people to their rightful land and position with God. His only request was that God remember him for it.
Nehemiah stands tall throughout Biblical history as a man of God who built up, restored and strengthened His people. I pray that in our day God would raise up more like Nehemiah, men and women willing to allow God, to first break their hearts. Then to follow Him as He leads, to heal, and restore God’s children. Then finally to see them safely home.